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Posted On: 12/31/18 11:52 PM
Bloomington Central Catholic gained an early edge over Quincy Notre Dame in the State Farm Holiday Classic small-school championship game and never let go despite a Raiders comeback.
The Saints earned a 73-65 win over the Raiders in a meeting of central Illinois private Catholic schools. Central Catholic finished third in Class 2A last season and looks poised to make another deep postseason run.
Here are player evaluations for both teams from Saturday’s game.
BLOOMINGTON CENTRAL CATHOLIC
JT Welch (2021, G, 5-foot-10) – 21 points (7-10/3-5/4-5), 3 rebounds
Welch was impressive. Every time he caught the ball it seemed like he was going to score. He connected on a pair of 25-foot 3-point attempts, going 3-for-3 from 3-point range in the first quarter. He took advantage of closeouts the rest of the game by getting past defenders and creating open looks.
Tommy Nelson (2019, F, 6-foot-5) – 14 points (5-9/0-0/4-6), 11 rebounds
Nelson earned all-tournament honors and put an exclamation point on the tournament with another strong performance. The athletic forward took advantage of his length to secure rebounds, including grabbing four offensive rebounds.
Luke Yoder (2019, G, 6-foot) – 13 points (2-9/0-3/9-10), 8 rebounds, 4 assists
Yoder was inefficient as a scorer but put away the game in the fourth quarter by getting to the free throw line. But what stood out the most was his ability to set up his teammates on offense. Yoder showed great court vision and set his teammates up before a play developed. In fact, after QND tied the game in the fourth quarter, Yoder’s two free throws took the lead before crossing over his opponent to create a 5-on-4 opportunity leading to an open 3-pointer. The next possession he made a great pass to set Nelson up with an opportunity to score.
Yoder has an offer from Eastern Illinois at the D-1 level, and offers from Quincy University and Truman State, according to Verbal Commits.
QUINCY NOTRE DAME
Nick Schwartz (2019, G, 6-foot-2) – 23 points (8-17/4-7/3-3), 6 rebounds, 1 steal
Schwartz is a scorer and willed his team to comeback and take the lead by scoring 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. Throughout the game he showcased his range, connecting on 3-point attempt, and the ability to get to the free throw line. Even without scoring, he was active by securing four offensive rebounds.
Dylan Foley (2019, G, 6-foot-1) – 18 points (5-9/0-1/8-11), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Foley comes from a basketball family. His sisters Cassidy and Shannon were a part of QND’s 3-peat from 2010-12. On Saturday it was the little brother’s time to shine as he was active on both ends of the court. His ability to finish through contact and get to the free throw line also drew help defense, allowing him to kick out and find an open teammate.
Tommy Ray (2019, F, 6-foot-6) – 10 points (5-10/0-3/0-2), 2 rebounds
Ray is a John A. Logan Community College baseball recruit but can be a mismatch on the hardwood. He is a face-up forward that is athletic enough to play on the perimeter. He’s going to be a difference maker as the page turns to the second half of the season.